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Any readers left?

I would apologize for not posting for (ahem) four straight days, but I was back with all you folks in the (cold, rainy, misery of the) District. Not much to post from there, I suppose (unless you call going out to dinner and missing the end of Georgetown/BC and the craziness of Vandy/Wash St. as something to post).

And, of course, while I was away, there was more news in four days than there was in the previous 28 -- combined.

To review:

1. Larry Broadway optioned to Class AAA Columbus. Dmitri Young homers in first major league appearance, invited to major league camp, now in head-to-head battle with Travis Lee at first base.

2. Manager Manny Acta and GM Jim Bowden basically agree that Shawn Hill is the No. 2 starter.

3. Pressed further, Manager Manny Acta and GM Jim Bowden seem to indicate that Jason Simontacchi is likely in the rotation as well. Simontacchi, however, has a slightly strained groin and will be skipped in his next turn. Hmmm.

4. Chris Snelling starts hitting homers and doubles and running into walls and being labelled a "throwback" by both Manager Manny Acta and GM Jim Bowden. I was unaware that throwbacks were allowed to grow up in Australia, but so be it. Thus, we have perhaps the first visible conflict between manager and GM: Acta has spent most of the offseason and spring training saying Ryan Church would be his starting left fielder and look at his 600 at-bats in the majors and he just needs a chance and if he goes 0-for-the-rest of spring training he's still got the job, while Bowden has pushed the idea of competition at the postition. So ...

5. That leads us to the whole idea of job descriptions. If, in the strictest sense, the GM's job is to provide the manager with a 25-man roster, and the manager's job is to pick the players who can best go out and win each game, then you could expect that: 5(a) Bowden would put both Church and Snelling on the team, and 5(b) Acta could choose to make Church the starter and Snelling the fourth outfielder. That's still my bet, but ...

6. What if Nook Logan doesn't hit for the first, say, three weeks. How patient will these folks actually be (particularly if, say, the team starts 5-15)? Do you remember two years ago, when, at about this time, a fella named Endy Chavez (see: "Catches, Greatest in History of Game") was sent down to the minors to make way for Church -- in center field. Bowden, at the time, said he loved loved loved loved Church as a hitter, and I remember standing by the cage one day when Church was taking BP, and Bowden saying, "You can't teach that," making a reference to Church's ability to get his bat to take a quick, explosive path to the ball. The point being: Will Logan, a defensive wizard, be able to survive a poor offensive start if the club has either Snelling or Church sitting on the bench and Church has already been deemed a competent center fielder by the current front office. (Do not -- I repeat, DO NOT -- take this as something that says Church's defensive ability compares to that of Logan, or that Logan is definitely going to have a poor offensive start. I'm just sayin'.)

Anyway, today we have No. 2 starter Shawn Hill in his third-to-last start before the regular season. Man, it all of a sudden got late fast, didn't it? In fact, I'll deal with that idea in a few hours.

Oh, forgot: Brian Schneider out of the lineup today with a sore hamstring. Just tweaked, and they're taking it easy. He's not making the trip tomorrow, but Acta said he's right on target with his timing, etc., so he's not worried.

And now, your lineups for today's game against the Dodgers here at HSCS:

Los Angeles:
Furcal -- 6
Pierre -- 8
Garciaparra -- 3
Kent -- 4
Gonzalez -- 7
Betemit -- 5
Bigbie -- 9
Stinnett -- 2
Wolf -- 1

Lopez -- 4
Guzman -- 6
Zimmerman -- 5
Kearns -- 9
Church -- 7
Young -- 3
Snelling -- 8
Brito -- 2
Hill -- 1

Oh, and in case you missed the GIANT ADVERTISEMENT ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE SPORTS SECTION (only $.35), "Washington Post Live" debuts today at 5 p.m. (I think) on Comcast SportsNet. Join BogMeister Dan Steinberg and his cronies (I believe Zimmerman appears today) on the debut of this 90-minute (yes, that's right, 90-minute) television program in which our insightful and intelligent staff will dissect the issues of the day (and try not to make utter fools of ourselves in the process, which is unlikely).

Talk to you in a while.

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 19, 2007; 9:21 AM ET
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Next: My fortune=Nationals fortune?


Whew! Glad you are back. Looking forward to today's updates. Thanks for all you do.

Posted by: GoNats | March 19, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back! We read your blog everyday -- often several times during a game. (Love the $.35 version too.) Have a great season!

Posted by: Paul & Marilyn Nejelski | March 19, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back Barry! You brought the first smile to my face in awhile.

Any reason Logan isn't starting in center today (and the other day too)?

What if Lopez doesn't start hitting?

Are you hearing of potential castoffs of starting pitchers from other teams that might measure up to be one of the Nats starting five?


Posted by: Missing Florida | March 19, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see the Post getting on Comcast. Philly's Comcast has had Daily News Live for years and it's a good watch. Maybe Post Live will get some more buzz about the teams, especially the Nats, across the area.

Posted by: BoysOfSummer | March 19, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

You came back just in time. Multiple Nats bloggers are admitting to be too bored by the team to keep discussing them regularly. I guess this is why Panera used to figure so heavily when you were more prolific during Spring Training.

I hope the regular season perks everybody up- regular season losses will get a more passionate response than the ones we suffer now. Until then we will have to figure out how old new Nats pitcher Alay Soler really is. (OK, no, we haven't signed him yet).

Posted by: Kevin (Fairfax) | March 19, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Barry, glad you're back and providing us with V-ery C-ritical U-pdates.

Posted by: Kevin | March 19, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Very subtle Rams-over-Blue Devils reference there. Solid.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | March 19, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Barry. thanks for the massive updates!

Posted by: Nationals Pride Mike | March 19, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Whew. Very glad you're back. I need you here to get me through the next two weeks.

Posted by: rgib | March 19, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

If you are waiting for me to get you through the next few weeks ... well, then, Godspeed.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | March 19, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Barry, are you hearing anything from either Bowden or Acta specifically on the bat/glove tradeoff with Nook? As some of the bloggers have pointed out...unless he's Bugs Bunny out there with the glove, Nook weaker bat vs. Church or Snelling's would probably tend to outweigh the fact that he can go get it in the field. Or are they just hoping that he somehow ends up being something other than terrible at the plate?

Posted by: Marc | March 19, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Was in sunny Viera for the Marlins game yesterday and couldn't find you or Panera. Just my luck. Keep up the good work.
Love the updates!

Posted by: Brian | March 19, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

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